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Pope highlights worldwide discrimination against Christians

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The Pope has today (9 Jan) made a fervent appeal for discrimination against Christians to end, following a huge increase in violence against Christians both in the Middle East and also in other parts of the world.

At the Vatican reception, the Pope told diplomats:

"In many countries, Christians are deprived of fundamental rights and sidelined from public life; in other countries they endure violent attacks against their churches and their homes."

"At times [Christians] are forced to leave the countries they have helped to build because of persistent tensions and policies which frequently relegate them to being second-class spectators of national life."

Recent Attacks

Christian relief organisation “Aid to the Church in Need” released figures recently showing that Christians are the target of 75 per cent of all religious persecution.

The Pope’s speech follows a number of recent attacks in Nigeria, where Christians are increasingly being targeted. Forty Christians were killed over Christmas by the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, who recently issued an ultimatum giving Christians living in northern Nigeria three days to leave the area.

Many Christians around the world are suffering persecution, especially in Islamic countries.

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian mother of five who was convicted under the country’s controversial blasphemy law last year, is still incarcerated and faces execution.

In Iran, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was condemned to death for refusing to recant his Christian beliefs. After international pressure his case has gone to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatolla Ali Khameni and Pastor Nadarkhani awaits his decision.

Christians are especially facing danger in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and China.

Relief charity ‘Open Doors USA’ has reported that: An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation.”

Government Policy

Ann Widdecombe, the former Conservative MP, has criticised the government’s policy on cutting aid to countries which have laws against homosexuality whilst failing to take a stand against countries which persecute Christians.

The former minister argued that a country’s record on religious freedom should be considered when it comes to deciding how Britain’s overseas aid budget should be allotted.

Concerning representation for persecuted Christians, Miss Widdecombe added: “You stand a better chance of earnest representation if you are a hedgehog – and I speak as a patron of the Hedgehog Protection Society.

“In the last 10 years, how many debates have there been on persecution of Christians, how many Government statements on the subject?”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:

“105,000 Christians are killed each year because of their beliefs; the Government must take a stronger line as a matter of priority.”

Links

Guardian

Christian Concern: International Persecution

 

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